Let’s give a collective virtual round of applause to all of South Florida’s educators! As a journalism professor at Florida Memorial University, I know, firsthand, this simple gesture of support is welcomed and greatly needed.
In the words of one of the honorees from this year’s Education Issue, the last year-and-a-half has been “incredibly difficult,” to say the least.
At the start of the pandemic, educators were charged with accomplishing a Herculean feat – to teach students solely using technology. Admittedly, many instructors, including myself, had to take a crash course to learn how to effectively teach virtually.
It requires a specific skill set, lots of curriculum planning, and a little bit of personality. It also requires functioning computers and strong Internet connections along with alert, cooperative pupils.
The good news is that school districts and institutions of higher learning successfully made it through another school year. And it’s thanks to the countless administrators, faculty, and staff who made it happen.
The Top Black Educators featured in this issue would have likely been honored even if there wasn’t a pandemic. They were already extraordinary at what they do.
Take Taylor Jones (Legacy South Florida) who, in part, teaches drama to community children in Miramar. Her students have her ear. So when one of them came to her with a personal issue about their gender identity, she made sure her drama class was a safe, welcoming space for them to perform and thrive.
I was also impressed after meeting Chevas Clements of Homestead Middle School (Legacy Miami).
He’s the physical education instructor there who also coaches football. But those football duties are now temporary until he completes his doctorate studies. Now how inspiring is that for the boys and girls he is guiding to become stellar athletes and astute scholars?
If anything, the pandemic has taught educators – and students for that matter – how to be resilient. But as schools return to class this fall fully face to face, it will be great to connect with everyone on a more personal level instead of viewing headshots on a computer screen.
Let’s continue to be safe, though, until the pandemic no longer poses a threat.
Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief